Martin on Mobile Apps

About this Blog: All smartphone and tablet apps, all the time. Veteran mobile tech journalist James A. Martin offers mobile app reviews, news, tips and more on a variety of major mobile platforms, with a focus on iOS and Android.

Martin on Mobile Apps

N3twork for iOS is a 'Visual Social Network' You Want to See

The new N3twork iOS app aims to provide a highly-visual and engaging social-web experience. CIO.com's mobile apps reviewer James A. Martin says N3twork accomplishes its goal but he still isn't quite sold on the service.

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N3twork, pronounced “network,” is like a visual version of Twitter that's organized by people and channels. No, scratch that. It’s like Flipboard, but without feeds from publishers. Or maybe it’s more like Vine, but with…

Oh, forget it. N3twork is hard to describe. It is a free, new iOS app (optimized for iPads and iPhone/iPod touch) that is, in essence, an app-based social network. It organizes posts from members into hashtagged topics called "channels." Channels include #News, #Travel, #Digitalheath,and #Homecooking, and some less specific options, such as #Truthbetold, #Amazing, #Offthegrid and #Positivity.

Here are three good reasons to give the app a try.

N3twork iPad screen shot

1. N3twork looks great. Social media posts accompanied by images or videos often get more attention than text-only posts, and N3twork is probably the most visual social network I’ve seen. At launch, it was full of gorgeous photos and stunning videos (check out the video of a perilous cliff dive in slow-motion). By default, videos in your news feed or channels begin to play automatically, as they do in Vine, but the sound is off. You can turn the autoplay feature off in the app’s settings.

2. It’s (mostly) easy to combine various elements into one post. One of N3twork’s stated differentiators is the ability to easily combine multiple elements, such as photos, videos, and other Web content, into one post. Unfortunately, I was unable to share Web page links using N3twork on my iPad, though I could share links using the app on my iPhone.

3. N3twork brings order to chaos. Organizing posts by channels makes a lot of sense. Twitter streams and Facebook news feeds, by comparison, sometimes make me feel unsettled by the randomness of everything. N3twork, in contrast, is more chill.  

All that said, N3twork has room for improvement.

I’d like to see the ability to arrange channels in order of preference. Also, N3twork members don’t have profiles or bios, so you have no context for someone you follow (unless, of course, you know them). You can see how many people are following a N3twork member, how many followers they have, their photo, their N3twork @name and their previous posts. But that’s it.

Will I make time in my day for N3twork, along with the already limited time I have for Twitter, Facebook, and Google+? Honestly, I’m not convinced that N3twork, as different as it may be, is different enough to pull me in on a regular basis.

But N3twork, the company behind the app, is ambitious, stating on its website that it will “soon be available everywhere there’s a screen.”

I'm not yet hooked on N3twork, but I am intrigued. 


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